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ROAD TO LORD’S – PART TWO

On another beautiful day at the Racecourse – a stunning ground when the sun shines – the Yellows set off in search of the 280 runs required to gain the first innings win and necessary bonus points to overhaul Loughborough and join Cardiff in the MCCU Challenge Final at Lord’s.

Steve Bullen and Henry Thompson began the reply in style, with their first century stand of the season and arguably the team’s best session of the campaign as they walked off at lunch with the score on 135 for 0, Bullen on 65 and Thompson on 59. The stew and mash must have caused a few digestive problems though, as the next hour saw 4 wickets fall for the addition of only 40 runs with all wickets going to the left-arm spin of JJ Dewes.  Bullen was the first to go, driving at one that turned and edging to slip, without adding to his lunchtime score. Billy Root looked comfortable until he turned a ball into the hands of short leg after scoring 18, Christian Davis was adjudged LBW trying to sweep for only 1 and Logan Weston was caught for 3. Having fallen from 135-0 to 175-4 and with the Durham boys keen not to register their 5th 2-day defeat of the season, Lord’s was looking a long way off.

Henry Thompson

It was left to two guys in their 3rd year at University to use their experience and steady the ship. Thompson had remained solid at the other end as he lost his partners and was now joined by Mr Consistent, Harry Rouse.

Last year Thompson was dismissed in the Challenge Final 3 runs short of a Lord’s century. As he entered the 90s he must have had his eye on helping the team reach another Challenge Final by scoring his first ton in a Leeds Bradford shirt. That was until, when on 92, he turned a ball to backward square, set off for an easy single but then inexplicably decided to return for a suicidal second and despite a desperate dive the lanky Lancastrian was a foot short of his ground when the bails were removed. He trudged off with 93 to his name but, more importantly, with his team needing only another 71 for victory.

Meanwhile Rouse was going steadily at the other end. The Bath-based all-rounder entered the game needing 42 runs to become only the 5th ever Leeds Bradford player to reach the career double of 500 runs and 50 wickets, despite having only scored one half-century. A second one looked very much on the cards though. George Scott helped him add 35 before the Middlesex man was caught behind for 20 with the total on 244 – and 36 still required. Liam Watkinson them came in and batted confidently. In a half-century stand with Rouse he helped take the team past the required target for the first innings win that was needed. At 298 for 6 a 4th and final batting point to put the icing on the cake looked a formality and a 50 for Rouse looked nailed on. Funny old game though. Watkinson was then bowled by Phillips for 36, Rouse skied one to cover and fell 3 runs short of his personal milestone and then Archie Ogden was yorker first ball to leave Phillips on a hat-trick and 1 round needed for the extra point. However, the flurry and wickets had left last man Harwood still in his shorts and t-shirt – let alone padded-up – so with the clock on 5.20 pm, Davis declared and hands were shaken.

Second spot secured although disappointment all round that Cardiff had pipped us to the title. Still, the table doesn’t lie and a place at Lord’s will ensure a fantastic day out for the team on Tuesday 23rd June.

T20 TITLE DEFENCE STARTS HERE

T20 Champions 2014
T20 Champions 2014

Whilst a small game takes place at Headingley tonight when Yorkshire take on Lancashire in the NatWest T20 Blast, the main event will commence at Weetwood a few hours earlier when approximately 15,000 less spectators will turn up for the MCC / Red Bull T20 Qualifiers. Originally there should have been four teams taking part – Newcastle University, Bristol University, Durham MCCU and the Yellows. We were due to play Newcastle in the first game at 10.00 am but late yesterday afternoon we heard that they would not be taking part – extremely disappointing at such short notice. This means that we have now been given a bye in that game and will now meet the winners of the Bristol v Durham game in the qualifying final. The first game will begin at midday with the final starting at 16.00 hrs. There are three qualifying events taking part – the other two at Loughborough and Cambridge – with the winners of each and the best runner-up going on to compete in two semi-finals and a final at the Parks, Oxford on Monday 15th June. The overall winners will become the England MCC / Red Bull Campus Cricket T20 Champions from 2015 and go on to represent England in the World Campus Cricket Finals in India next October. Having won the competition last year and represented England in  the finals at Wormsley & London, the Yellows will be extremely keen to hang on to their title – especially with a trip to the sub-continent in the offing! All support welcome at Weetwood today. It’s free entry and should be the ideal curtain-raiser to tonight’s fireworks down the road!!

SEMI SPOT ALMOST SECURED

With one game still remaining in the BUCS One-day competition, the Yellows are almost guaranteed a place in the semi-finals – barring disasters & freak results. A win in their final game away at Durham on 8 June will ensure a home tie (1 v 4, 2 v 3) on Wednesday 17th June.

It very much looks as though the other semi-finalists will be Durham, Loughborough and Oxford – although ex-Yellows captain and current Southampton Solent coach Richard Browning will be hoping that his team can still cause an upset and qualify.

The final will be played at Kibworth CC in Leicestershire on Wednesday 24th June. Could there be a repeat of 2013 when Luis Reece led the boys to the title?

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BUCS One Day Table  (Correct to 19 May)

Team Played Won Lost Aban RR Points
Leeds Bfd 6 4 1 1 11.654 13
Durham 5 3 1 1 10.517 10
L’boro 5 3 1 1 7.389 10
Oxford 4 2 1 1 -0.44 7
Soton Solent 5 2 3 0 -10.304 6
Cardiff 4 1 2 1 -3.225 4
Cambridge 6 1 4 1 -7.37 4
Exeter 5 1 4 0 -8.22 3
Remaining Fixtures:
26 May - Oxford v Loughborough
29 May - Exeter v Loughborough
1 June - Durham v Cardiff
4 June - Oxford v Solent
8 June - Cambridge v Cardiff
         Durham v Leeds
10 June - Exeter v Oxford
12 June - Cardiff v Solent